Tuesday, May 25, 2010

toddler talk

Over the past 3 weeks or so, Valerie has made a big jump in her talking after a long plateau. Between her 18-month and 2-year checkups, she really didn't add very many words - maybe 5? Now all of a sudden she's trying to say a lot more - it's really fun :-) She's not enunciating very clearly, but she is trying to say:

puppy (sounds more like "pough," rhyming with "dough")
bow wow
...and a bunch more I can't remember right now but will come back and add to the list as I hear her say them. And other words she's been saying for awhile, she's enunciating more clearly.

She's also finally learned how to jump with both feet off the ground! She loves to dance around the living room, pointing to the CD player as each track changes - she'll say "two!" or "free" (three), "sic," (six), and "eight" when she sees those numbers. She likes to "stand like Daddy" with her legs wide apart and knees flexed.

She is so much fun!

Monday, May 24, 2010

non-stress test and biophysical profile

Welcome to the world of prenatal monitoring! Here are two terms you may or may not be familiar with:

Non-stress test, or NST: The name of this test sent me to Google to find out what a "stress test" might be. There isn't such a thing, per se, but the non-stress test is in contrast to the contraction stress test (CST) where mild contractions are induced to see how the baby responds under those conditions. During an NST, there are two monitors strapped to the mother's belly: one at the top of the uterus to measure spontaneous contractions, and the other lower down to pick up the baby's heartbeat. I had a LOT of NSTs when I was hospitalized with Valerie, and now I'm to have them twice a week. Basically they graph the heart-rate in conjunction with movement, and want to see the baby's heart rate speed up and slow down as s/he moves more and less vigorously.

Our NST today earned a 10/10 rating, which is perfect - BBJ did great with the moving around and kicking and heart beating etc. The machine picked up one contraction, which I felt also - I don't always feel them because at this stage they are very sporadic and mild. They're called Braxton-Hicks contractions when they're not actually labor contractions. I was having a lot more of them earlier before going on bed-rest.

Biophysical Profile: this is a specific kind of ultrasound - not in terms of how it's done, but in terms of what they are measuring. They're looking for three markers of healthy baby: good amount of amniotic fluid, lungs moving (they practice breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid), and practicing sucking. They also measure head, femur, and abdomen to calculate weight (although this can be somewhat inaccurate). BBJ is measuring around 4 lbs 5 oz which is great for 32 weeks, and he's doing everything he's supposed to be doing in utero. And he's still a boy :-)

I'll be having these ultrasounds once a week until we deliver. And I'll be doing repeat urinalysis each week as well.

And if I needed proof that bed rest is where I need to be, I got it Saturday evening - we had a friend visiting from DC and even though I tried to suppress my hostessing urges, my BP was really high that night and then down again the next day to the range where it was before her visit. So, visitors are great - but I really do need to keep quiet and keep visits short, especially in the evening when combined with dinnertime and bedtime for Valerie I tend to expend more energy than I should.

Friday, May 21, 2010


My sister put together a great set of photos for my dad's birthday which I will shamelessly link to here - happy birthday Dad, love you!

Great news!!!

We got the lab results back - proteinuria down from 1,716 to 284!!!! Incredible! So thankful and glad and amazed. I'm to stay on bedrest at home and drink lots of fluids, keep monitoring blood pressure, and they'll see me on Monday.

still waiting

I took my re-do sample to the lab this morning, and they said they should have results "by the end of the day." So meantime, I'm just going to rest. It's been hard to sleep at night because I wake up to go to the bathroom, and then sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep again because my mind is spinning thinking about everything. But I thought to myself this morning, "I guess this is my labor." I will probably never have the chance to experience a normal labor and delivery, but this processing, preparation, and trying to work with my body is the closest I will get. And it is "work."

Overall, the emotional journey has been easier this time than last. I have a better idea what to expect. I'm not as terrified of the idea of a cesarean as I was last time (even though it wasn't what I wanted either time, and I was hoping to try for a VBAC with this one...). I like my doctors. What is most distressing to me is the idea of being away from Valerie for a long period of time (well, that and concern that Baby Boy Jantzi - aka BBJ - will end up in the NICU) and worrying about how she'll cope with me not being here for the morning and evening routines. But at the same time I know she will be well and lovingly cared for - we have a veritable village coming together with both sets of grandparents going to be here plus our very capable babysitter who V. is quite attached to as well.

There has been an overflow of loving support through the friends and family networks that I appreciate so much. People I haven't seen or talked to in years sending good wishes and praying for us. Thank you all so much. Your love is palpable.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Public service announcement:
By the way, the Preeclampsia Foundation has a very informative web site if you want to learn more about this condition.


This morning I called my therapist's office to see about either canceling my Monday morning appointment, or doing it over the phone. The office receptionist said she had bad news. Dr. G. passed away two weeks ago, just three days after I last saw her.

I'm kind of in shock, it really doesn't seem real. I have such a vivid memory of sitting in her office, the needlepoint pillows, the way she would always hand me a tissue. I never got a chance to ask her about the whales and dolphins that populated her space - figurines, sculptures in glass and metal and wood, pictures on the walls, on coffee mugs, even her earrings. Obviously they meant something important to her and I never found out what.

She has a 7-year-old daughter.

I wanted to state here, since I can't tell her in person, how much she has meant to me over the years since I first started seeing her in 2004; how much she has helped me, and how specific things she said to me still stick in my mind like mantras and help me cope with daily life. It really doesn't seem real to me that she's gone.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Disclaimer/warning: This post is all about me and my jug o' pee, so if you are of delicate sensibilities and prefer not to read about bodily fluids, feel free to skip this one! I'll just give you the bottom line up front: we are still in limbo and don't know whether I'll need to go on hospital bedrest or not.


One of the three markers for pre-eclampsia is the presence of protein in the urine. The other two are high blood pressure and swelling (edema) of the hands and feet. I have high blood pressure, although now I'm not meds that are keeping it in a better place. Last week I did a 24-hour urine catch and this week I'm doing one again.

The benchmark they are looking for is 300 milligrams of protein total in the sample. Anything under that doesn't count, and anything over that is considered a red flag for pre-eclampsia. Mine was 1,700. Yes, you read that right: almost six times the benchmark. Anything over a gram is considered Bad News and some doctors, I learned yesterday, will just go right ahead and deliver the baby immediately with that kind of result. I appreciate that my doctors are a little less alarmist and are willing to wait and see what the results of the second test might be.

If they are still above 1,000 milligrams, then I will be put on hospital bedrest - probably in Charlottesville, about an hour away from here - because they have a NICU and I'm only 31 weeks. If it's lower than that, I may have the option of bedrest at home (oh please oh please!) or at the local hospital (also preferable because easier to see Valerie). My biggest concern is being away from her...

Anyway, so this is how the 24-hour urine catch works: You get a plastic jug, and what they call a "hat" or "bonnet" - a plastic cup with sort of like wings on it, that you put on the toilet before you void (that's the term they use for peeing) your bladder, and it catches all the urine, which you then pour into the jug. The jug needs to be kept chilled. We used a small cooler packed with those frozen blocks that you keep in the freezer. That's it. You collect all your urine over a 24-hour period and then deliver it to the lab.

The convenient thing about the cooler is I can take the jug with me discreetly if I have to go out and about somewhere and continue the urine collection even if I'm not at home.

The inconvenient thing is I have to remember to put the cap back on the jug, which I am very prone to forget. It seems like the act of putting the "bonnet" back in the cooler feels to me like capping something and I feel like I've already packed up what I need to pack up. Or something.

So, today, just as I was arriving at the lab, I heard a slosh from inside the cooler and thought "uh-oh..." and indeed, when I opened it up, I found that I had left the cap off and spilled about a cup of fluid. I know, I know, GROSS. But also, hugely inconvenient. I feel like a prime idiot because now I have to do the test all over again, AND delay getting back the results. They said it wouldn't be accurate if they didn't have 100% of the fluid from the 24-hour period.

The thumping sound you hear is the sound of me banging my head against the wall.

Since I had to register as an outpatient for an accompanying blood draw (which we didn't do either), I kept the hospital band on my wrist in hopes it will remind me not to be so stupid again tomorrow.

So the wait continues.

Monday, May 17, 2010


So here we go again... I've been tracking my blood pressure over the past couple of weeks, and it hasn't been great - flirting with the 140/90 line that raises red flags. So we did a 24-hour urine test and they found significant protein, which is another red flag. Luckily I do not have any swelling in my hands and feet, or other symptoms of pre-eclampsia, but the other two factors are cause for concern.

The plan at this point is to continue monitoring, to rest as much as possible, and to drink lots of liquids (something I never do enough). Today we got a look at the bambino via ultrasound and he's doing great, developing exactly as he should, heart rate and everything else right on track.

Pray I can hold out for another 6 weeks at least...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Valerie is 2!

She loved the birthday pinwheel and balloon

Yes, we did have some friends over, although our little introvert was just as happy running around the neighbor's garden by herself...
After singing "happy birthday" one of the toddlers present asked for "itsy bitsy spider" so we sang that too!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


So I've been away from the blog for a few weeks - did you notice? :-) It's been hectic the past couple weeks and I'm just starting to catch up with myself. I have ten weeks (give or take) left in this pregnancy, research to finish, a house to organize and pack up, and then all the daily stuff... like taking a shower, eating, that kind of thing. I haven't downloaded Valerie pictures in for, like, ever, but hope to get to that soon too.

What I want most right this minute though... is a NAP.

Monday, May 03, 2010

To party or not to party?

I've simply been too tired to post anything here. I realized today though that Valerie's birthday is a week from Saturday and I need to make a decision about what to do to celebrate - we'll have a family celebration later in the month but I'd still like to mark the day of in some way. Last month we attended her first child's birthday party which she quite frankly did not enjoy very much (my little introvert!) so I'm inclined not to go that route. But cake and balloons at home with a few friends would be nice... she'd like that.